Educator, coach passes away

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By Nancy Parsons

A former teacher/coach/guidance counselor at Great Falls High School passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, Oct. 19.

Elizabeth “Beth” R. Reid of Winnsboro fought a battle with cancer but the disease is not what took her life. Sources say Reid, 59, died after a blood clot developed in her lung.

“She was a valiant fighter,” former Great Falls High School Assistant Principal and later Principal Charles Wieland said. “She wasn’t going to give in.”

Wieland said he worked with Reid while she was at Great Falls High from 1986 to the late 1990s.

“Beth was a very good friend of my wife and I and also to our two girls,” Wieland said. “We were also very good friends with her husband.”

Wieland said Reid came to Great Falls High as a Science teacher and served as a very successful girl’s basketball coach. He said she left Great Falls to join the staff at Richard Winn Academy in Winnsboro.

Wieland said Reid was a “fine human being.”

“She cared about people,” he said. “She was ready to do whatever you asked her to do. She was a hard worker. Beth was always involved in doing something and most of the time, it was to help people.”

“I’m devastated. Her passing is a great loss for humanity.”

Chester County School Board member and former Athletic Director at Great Falls High School John Smith said he brought Reid onboard in 1986.

Her girls’ basketball team won regional championships and made it to the state play-offs several times, Smith said.

Smith said Reid’s husband, “Herb” Rentz, served as a junior varsity football and basketball coach at the high school.

“Beth was an excellent PE teacher and a great, great coach,” Smith said.

“She was a school person. Her life was spent in school business.”

“It’s a tragedy,” Smith said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

S.C. Senator Mike Fanning said Fairfield County and the State of South Carolina lost a strong leader, a strong voice for the schools when Reid passed away.

“While we miss her already, she has left us a lifetime legacy here in Fairfield County. A powerful leader of our school board, Beth led quietly…with a strength of character that pulled folks together. So much of the progress that has been made in recent years is due directly to her board leadership – uniting us behind progressive, stable change throughout our local schools.”

“Beth touched all of our lives. Her sincere, encouraging and caring spirit was infectious and her leadership and service to the children, parents and educators in Fairfield schools will be remembered always.”

“She left us too soon,” Fanning added. “We are better people. I am a better person because Beth was in our lives.”

Reid earned a degree in Physical Education and a master’s degree in Guidance Counseling. She believed in and fought for education for all and made that the central theme of her life. She served as a teacher, coach and guidance counselor at Great Falls High School before returning to her native Winnsboro as a guidance counselor and later head of school at Richard Winn Academy. Reid was also director of Elementary and Middle School Education at the South Carolina Virtual Charter School. She served as the chairwoman of the Fairfield County School Board.

While school and student advocacy was Reid’s passion, adventure was her pastime. She operated a canopy tour and designed mountain biking trails at Carolina Adventure World. She completed three marathons, hiked, kayaked and spent as much time as possible on the beach at Sullivan’s Island.

She lived by the motto “Keep Going.”

Reid is survived by her husband Hubert “Herb” M. Rentz; her stepdaughter Jennifer Rentz and her children; her daughter-in-law, Lori Favors Epps; and other family members.

The family asks in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Elizabeth R. Reid Memorial Scholarship Fund, Fairfield County School District Office, 1226 U.S. Highway 321 Bypass South, Winnsboro, SC 29180.

There will be a private memorial at a later date.